Archives for December 2011

Sitting at His Feet

We here at A Martha Heart will be taking a holiday break to spend with our families.  Feel free to peruse the rooms of our site and stay awhile.  I’m sure God will cause you to land on JUST THE THING you needed to read and absorb.  He is timely like that!

May you find everything you need at Jesus’ Feet.  He is the ONE, who knows the WAY, because He IS the way! He is the ONE, who holds the TRUTH, for He IS the truth!  He is the ONE holding out LIFE to you and me, because He is LIFE!  And because He IS, you can.


God Bless you and keep you and make His Son, Jesus, shine upon you now and in 2012!

A Martha Heart Team

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Turkey Rice Stew

2 c. shredded turkey
8 c. water
8 bouillon cubes
1 c. minute rice
1/2 c. green chilies
6 carrots, diced
3 stalks celery, sliced
1/2 medium onion, diced
3 T. butter
4 T. heavy cream
1 can cream of mushroom soup

In a large stock pot, boil 8 c. water and bouillon cubes. Sauté onion, celery and carrots in melted butter for 5 minutes over medium heat. Add this mixture to boiling stock pot. Add rice, turkey, green chilies and can of cream of mushroom soup. Simmer for 20 minutes over medium heat. Lower heat to low and add heavy cream. Cook 5 minutes more. May add salt and pepper to taste.

Sharing soup recipes this week, stay tuned for more!

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Mom’s Homemade Soup

1. lb ground beef or turkey
1 can Ranch style beans
15 oz. can cream style corn
15 oz. cans mixed vegetables (1 bag of frozen is fine, too)
1 large can whole tomatoes (puréed in blender)
28 oz. water
1-2 bay leaves
1 medium onion, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Melisa's Mom's SoupCook in a stock pot until all meat is browned. Add in onion and cook until translucent. Drain.

Return to pot and add in 1 can Ranch style beans, 15 oz.1 can cream style corn, 15 oz.1-2 cans mixed vegetables (1 bag of frozen is fine, too–about 16 oz), 1 large can whole tomatoes (puréed in blender), 28 oz. water and 1-2 bay leaves. Stir well. Simmer on low for 1 hour with the lid on. Stir occasionally.Remove bay leaves before serving. From my friend Melisa. Yummy!

Sharing soup recipes this week, stay tuned for more!

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Even to Old Age, I AM HE

For the second time this Christmas season I went caroling at the nursing home with a group from our church. Our pastor led the way on both occasions. The second time we went he gave us Christmas cards to hand out and encouraged us to minister to the people as we walked the hallways singing. Various people in our congregation had put a handwritten message inside the cards along with a bookmark.

Many of the residents were non-responsive, seemingly trapped in a world that confused and confounded them. Some would nod their heads and smile with a shy acknowledgment of their appreciation. I was so caught off guard when I entered a room where one resident was sitting in a chair singing with great enthusiasm.  She was alone and her face was aglow with joy. I just stopped in front of her and looked at wonder at the glory of it.  She never missed a beat, but held my gaze and kept singing… then my tears began to flow. She reached out her hand, touched me, and spoke some words of encouragement. She was so frail in body, but so strong in spirit. I think she knew my tears weren’t from pity, but from gratitude. How faithful is the One who is indeed Immanuel, God with us?

“Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been borne by me from before your birth, carried from the womb; even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save. Isaiah 46:3-4

On another hallway I entered a room to give out the Christmas cards. This resident had an iPod to her ear, but she put it aside to let me know that she had a splitting headache and that her request for some aspirin was being ignored.  She asked me if I had any aspirin and I told her I didn’t, but I would like to pray with her. She said, “Well, I would rather have an aspirin.” The way she said it was so funny I could barely contain myself. I told her the hospital would frown on visitors dispensing aspirins, but I could pass on her request to an aide. She looked at me with slightly more interest and said, “Well, are you going to pray for me or not?” I laid my hand on her head and gently massaged her scalp while I prayed for the Prince of Peace to give her His peace and for healing of her headache so she could get some rest. Then she didn’t want me to go. I explained that we had other rooms to visit, but I would check back in on her. Several minutes later when we passed by her room I looked in and she was sound asleep.

So far, this is my favorite Christmas experience.  I am thankful our pastor led the way in the busy season to remind us as Paul did in Acts:

 In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'” Acts 20:35

I left the nursing home a blessed woman. Let’s  remember our Savior’s words.

Lord, thank you for those you have put in our lives who spur us on to love and good works. Help us to lift you up in this season in word and deed. In Jesus name, amen.

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Elegant Cream of Mushroom Soup

1 lb. mushrooms
1/2 c. chopped shallots
2 cloves chopped garlic
2 stalks chopped celery
1/2 c. unsalted butter, divided
1/2 c. flour
6 chicken broth
1/2 c. dry cooking sherry
3/4 c.whipping cream
1/4 t. cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper

Finely chop, half the mushrooms. Slice the remaining half. Sauté shallots, celery, and garlic in half the butter until tender. Add finely chopped mushrooms and sauté until tender, but not brown. Add flour and stir with a wooden spoon until a smooth paste has formed. Reduce heat and cook for three minutes, stirring constantly. Gradually add hot chicken broth, stirring constantly with a whisk. Bring to a boil and simmer 10 minutes. In a separate pan, sauté the sliced mushrooms in remaining butter. Add cooking sherry. Cook until liquid is reduced by about half. Add sliced mushrooms to the soup. Simmer 10 more minutes. Add whipping cream and season to taste with cayenne, salt and pepper. Cool completely and freeze, using freezer bag method.

On the serving day, thaw soup to slushy consistency. Place in sauce pan and heat through, but do not allow soup to boil. From Don’t Panic More Dinner’s in the Freezer.

Sharing soup recipes this week, stay tuned for more!

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Tomato Bisque

4 T. butter
1 medium sweet onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans whole tomatoes–about 28 oz.
46 oz. can tomato juice
2 bay leaves
1-8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
1 c. half and half
1 c. heavy cream
1 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper

Melt butter on medium heat in a large stock pot. Sauté onions and garlic for 8 minutes or until onions are translucent. Add cans of tomatoes (not drained), tomato juice and bay leaves. Simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes. With a hand blender, pureé the tomatoes. Stir in cream cheese. Return to heat and cook on low. Slowly stir in half and half, heavy cream, salt and pepper.

May top with bacon, croutons or Parmesan cheese. Serves 8.

Sharing soup recipes this week, stay tuned for more!

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Art Abandoned

Do you ever sense a theme going on in the background of your life? A certain struggle…a similar scene–all pointing to a problem that has not been uprooted.

I have…and it has to do with finishing something I have begun. For instance there is my cross-stitch drawer. It is filled with unfinished work. Things I had hoped to complete for someone–good intentions of mine that never saw the light of attainment.

It is a struggle of mine…for I ENVISION the finished product. I see it in its glory on display. I purchase the materials, sort through them and get started. Many days may pass with my faithful work applied. And then one day, it gets set aside. It gathers dust. It gets moved out-of-the-way before company comes. Finally it is lost.

Until one day, I pick it back up again and begin again. The cycle may ensue once again. It may even be relegated to my “craft drawer.” With the drawer closed, I feel no guilt to my unfinished task. For I do not have to open it again. I do not have to think about it.

Then there are our paintings. Chris and I worked on these together in the time before we had children (7 years worth). Chris did the mountains, and I worked on the house. Again, unfinished.

Then there are our cross-stitched Santa ornaments. And in the same line are the broken, but fixable ornaments. Each year I place them aside in a place to-be fixed. Each year, I repack them and hope next year it gets done. Perhaps I should just throw them away?

Oh and then there is some unfinished unpacking: we moved here SIX years ago and there are several boxes that have not been sorted through in our garage. Do we even need those things?

And how could I leave out the exercise equipment? One piece collects dust and serves as a literal stumbling block each night if I have to get up in the dark. Ouch! Another piece I began again….also dusty. So I pedaled and sneezed my way through! Finally, we just GAVE them both away.

Best Intentions. Goals! Aims, aspirations, objectives, designs and targets. None attained.
Why is it that we set up these goals and miss the mark every time? Where do we begin?

I’ll tell you, we begin by getting the rest of our priorities straight. We begin by asking the Master Organizer how to finish–for the strength and the will to do it. And He will help us. He knows how to go about the finishing of those things–He is indeed a God of ORDER. Ask Him to order your life and the things you begin. Ask Him for a plan.

For these are qualities that our Mighty God possesses…Qualities that He uses THROUGH us, if we are willing. Some of those things may be like winter with its snow-covered ground with the grass below it waiting for the spring–a WORK in progress. But a finished task or project will come…and with it? Some feelings of happiness and the good kind of pride. I think God has instilled in us a need to accomplish. It may be just a quality, where we look an awful lot like our Daddy!

Philippians 1:6
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Genesis 2:2
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.
John 4:34
“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.”
2 Corinthians 8:11
Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means.
James 1:4
Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

So persevere, my friends–ask God to inspire you to finish every good work that He has planned for your lives. He most certainly will!

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Make Your Plans Now & Get a Free e-Book!

If you are like millions of others, you are in the midst of not only Christmas planning and decorating, but planning for the new year as well.  You’ve probably bought a calendar that will meet your specifications for planning the next 12 months.  You are winding down your filing system for the year and preparing for those dreaded taxes.

You might even be planning how to lose weight….next year…after the holidays!!

Something else that lots of people seem to do during this time of planning, is decide that “this year” they are going to read the Bible through in a year.  While out shopping for Christmas gifts, they look through the hundreds of books that can assist them in that endeavor.  And it is a worthy endeavor, but sadly, it usually only last about 6 weeks into the new year.

However, with smartphones, tablets, and readers, staying in the Word on a daily basis and reading through the Bible in a year is a bit easier than ever before.  But even with all the “apps for that”, it is going to take some effort on your part, some planning, and lots of dedication.

I’m in that planning stage myself and I’d like to share a few resources that I plan to use this new year to read through the Bible with a plan and to study topically.

George H. Guthrie has two books out this year.  One is a chronological daily Bible called Reading God’s Story.  It lays the reading out for 6 days and leaves the 7th day for reflection.  Like most plans, it starts with Genesis.  However the readings from the New Testament and other books of the Bible are in relation to the main passage.  For instance, day one starts with Genesis 1-2 and day 2 takes you to the book of John and Psalm 8 & 104.  Since this is a chronological reading, before the first month’s reading is out, you are reading in Job.

The second book that Guthrie released is used in conjunction with the first, Read the Bible for Life.  It goes into more detail of how to understand what you have been reading.  It talks about themes throughout the Bible and how to apply it to your personal life.

Along with the books, there are apps for your smartphone and a couple of websites. gives an overview of both books, videos, and links to the resources that have been developed for these titles, including information on how to get your church involved.  There is also access to podcasts to go along with the readings.

Another website that is helpful, not only having information on these books, but many more resources, is  This is a free website that offers some of these resources for free, but you can also purchase more.  Once you register, you can access it from any internet linked location and have your notes and library available with the push of a button.  Available to users are several full translations of the Bible, some commentaries, several dictionaries, and teaching tools.

Also available exclusively to A Martha Heart readers are 250 FREE ebook downloads of Read the Bible For Life!  B&H Publishing Group is allowing our readers to access an on-line version of this book once you register at  Simply go to and enter the code below.  Your unlimited access to this book will be added to your library on the site.  Thank you, B&H!  We have 250 redeemable slots….so go today and get your copy.

 This reading plan and many more are also available at  It sends you email updates to remind you of your commitment.

This year, I’ve decided to study topically also.  My topic for the next 12 months is going to be Joy.  Thankfully, Angela Thomas just released a new 52-week daily devotional on that very subject.  I bought the ebook so that I could access it while at work for a quick devotion during my breaks.  I read it from my Amazon account in the cloud reader.  It’s a free option if you don’t have a Kindle reader.  If I read it using my Kindle for PC, I can highlight sections and add notes.

These are quick devotions 5 days, 52 weeks.  It’s not dated, so it can be started at anytime.  Each devotion has verses that relate to joy.  I’m looking forward to pursuing God’s joy this year.

So what are you planning on doing this new year, spiritually?  Have you bought a new Bible or journal, ready for fresh insights to be tracked?  Have you signed up for a study group?  Have you determined that you will spend more time with God and in His Word every day in the coming year?

Go ahead and open that empty new calendar and add your moments with Him.  Make appointments in ink, that can not be changed to meet with Him on a regular basis and just sit at His feet, listen to His voice, and grow in His strength.

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Heart Prompt #31: Pure Living Water

As this year starts putting on the brakes, slowing down to a school zone pace, our minds and hearts race like the speedway–the incongruity of such a varied pace begins to spin us out of control. We begin to stress over each little thing. Our emotions are at an all time high!

Then suddenly it occurs to us–slow down, reflect, savor and rest.

From these thoughts, it occurred to me, I need to get back to the basics–simplify.  Even in my quiet time each morning, I am looking for simplicity.

So in 2012 I offer my challenge to you: Pure Living Water.  No devotionals, no extras, just me, my Bible and my journal. As I find certain topics sticking in my heart and mind, I will have my Strong’s concordance close by to do some deeper research.

Will you join me?  If so, let me know by commenting.  I will be engaging with each of you in the new year by posting periodically on my progress–progressing to simple faith.

Sounds like going backwards to go forward, doesn’t it?  Well it is!

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